Monday, December 01, 2014
Michaëlle Jean, Stephen Harper, and the Great Betrayal
I see that Michaëlle Jean has a new job. Secretary-General of the corrupt dictator's club known as la Francophonie.
And that Stephen Harper, who spent tens of thousands of dollars backing her candidacy, is absolutely delighted.
But sadly I don't share that enthusiasm. Because while Jean may turn out to be the best Secretary-General the dictator's club will ever have.
When we and Canada needed her the most, she betrayed us miserably.
For many Canadians who worry about Stephen Harper's approach to parliamentary democracy, one of the low points came in December 2008.That's when he asked then governor-general Michaëlle Jean to shut down the House of Commons when it appeared that a majority of MPs were prepared to back a new coalition government led by then Liberal leader Stéphane Dion.
In the end, Jean approved the prime minister's very questionable request to suspend Parliament, staving off the defeat of Harper's government in the House.
With as we all know, disastrous consequences for our country and its democracy.
Jean's decision to let Harper get away with essentially padlocking Parliament emboldened him to become even more aggressively antidemocratic after that point.
And I've never been able to accept her explanations, or her excuses.
The woman who held Stephen Harper’s career in her hands in December, 2008, was concerned that refusing the Conservative Leader’s request to shutter the Commons would lead to a crisis of confidence in Canada’s political system, a former adviser says.
Constitutional scholar Peter Russell told OntarioNewsWatch.com this week that weighing on Ms. Jean’s mind at the time was the likelihood the Tories – had they lost office – would have poisoned confidence in the coalition government through a PR campaign framing the change as an illegitimate transfer of power.
Because this is outrageous.
“If a ‘no’ had come out of Rideau Hall and an attack launched on a Dion-Layton coalition that said we’ve had a coup d’etat in Canada,” he said, “we would have been there in the headlines of the world like Greece. [That’s] not very good for the country in any which way.”
It was Harper's coup d'etat...
He was the one who acted like a rabid demagogue, or a fascist, by demonizing the entirely legitimate idea of a coalition, whipping up anti-Quebec feeling, and threatening to use her past against her.
So her decision doesn't smell like roses to me, it reeks of cowardice.
And this is nonsense.
I thought that it was quite interesting to see that this was a moment in our country to reflect on, ‘Okay, how does our system work?’ I think it was a labour of raising awareness and raising also the responsibility of being well informed and of making the effort to learn about our political system.
Because if she had been interested in raising awareness and teaching Canadians about our political system, she would have used the crisis to show them that a coalition is an entirely legitimate option in a parliamentary democracy.
But she's right about one thing. History will judge her, and I'm pretty sure its verdict will be a harsh one.
Especially if Stephen Harper tries to demonize the idea of a coalition before or after the next election. And throws the country into confusion again.
And the good news? He will not demonize it next time as easily as he did last time. You can't keep a good idea like that one down forever.
And as I've said before, I've never been so happy than I was when I saw progressives of all colours come together to try to bring down the tyrant...
Because we were never so powerful, and he was never more afraid.
So if a Great Canadian Coalition should arise again I would welcome it with open arms, and work as hard as I could to bring everybody together and help it succeed.
For Michaëlle Jean can have her dictator's club. But I only want to defeat them.
I have seen the future.
And it looked beautiful...
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